CarGurus Marketing Efforts

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CarGurus Psychographic profile

On average, in-market auto shoppers, which are the primary target of CarGurus, visit 12 automotive sites and spend 13 hours online before making an actual purchase. They rely more on auto shopping sites than on dealer and brand sites. Auto shoppers generally have an on-the-go lifestyle as can be seen from their top hobbies of visiting resorts and spas, watching live professional sports, and going to movies.



  • Auto shoppers like vehicles that are reliable, budget-friendly, and safe, and have a good driving feel, a recognizable brand name, and reasonable fuel and maintenance costs. Their most important considerations when choosing vehicles are as follows: reliability (53%), budget (52%), driving feel (33%), fuel and maintenance costs (27%), brand name (25%), and safety (23%).
  • Auto shoppers like dealers that offer reasonable prices, deals, and financing options, are well-located, and have enough experience and inventory. Their most important considerations when choosing dealers are price (67%), available inventory (36%), odds of a fair deal (32%), location (30%), available financing (24%), and experience (18%).
  • CarGurus shoppers dislike "haggling over a vehicle." or buying a used car without any third-party price validation. Sixty-four percent of CarGurus shoppers say they have no interest in haggling, and 80% of CarGurus shoppers say they do not want to purchase a used car without any price validation by a third party.
  • Users of CarGurus dislike inaccurate listings and dealers that reply late or do not reply at all.
  • Sellers on CarGurus dislike the costs and requirements associated with selling their car.


  • Car shoppers are generally active as can be seen in their top hobbies or interests. They are very much interested in visiting resorts and spas, watching live professional sports, and going to movies.
  • Their daily routines show that they place a premium on gym memberships and athletic accomplishments.
  • The top apps car shoppers use reflect an interest in the following app categories: productivity, travel, entertainment, sports, lifestyle, food and beverage, and finance.
  • The top activities that car shoppers do online, as far as buying vehicles is concerned, are researching prices (71%), scouring car listings (68%), comparing cars (64%), determining what their existing car is worth (63%), and finding information about dealers (46%).


  • There are several possible reasons users of CarGurus are on the lookout for a vehicle, but they all boil down to either desire or necessity. Of auto shoppers, 30% say their vehicle needs to be replaced soon, 24% say they wish to upgrade their vehicle, 22% say their current vehicle is not working, 18% say they want a new vehicle, 15% say they want an additional vehicle, and 13% say they want to give themselves a treat.
  • The purchase urgency of these auto shoppers is distributed as follows: extremely urgent (10%), very urgent (15%), somewhat urgent (28%), a little urgent (26%), and not urgent at all (21%).
  • Even though nearly half of auto shoppers know the make and model of the car they want at the start of their shopping journey, most auto shoppers change their mind about things, such as the dealership (61%), the vehicle model (55%), the vehicle make (51%), the must-have features (50%), the vehicle type (32%), and the price to pay (32%).
  • Before making a purchase, auto shoppers contact an average of 3.1 dealers and visit an average of 2.1 dealers. First contact with dealer is often online or via phone. An in-person visit is often postponed to the very end.
  • Auto shoppers prefer contacting dealers via an in-person visit (34%), phone call (28%), email (14%), online form (11%), chat (7%), or text messaging (6%).
  • Auto shoppers get financing mostly through the seller or dealer (50%) or through a financial institution (49%).
  • Though 62% of auto shoppers are very confident about car shopping, 49% of auto shoppers find car shopping fun, and 46% of auto shoppers enjoy negotiating, 62% of auto shoppers find car shopping stressful.
  • The path to purchase of auto shoppers takes about five weeks on average.
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CarGurus Marketing Efforts

CarGuruss' advertisement campaigns since the beginning of 2017 include the Detective and Motivational Guru campaign, the Detective: The Story Continues campaign, and the Parents and Obvious campaign.


  • It was launched on June 5, 2017.
  • "Detective" and "Motivational Guru" positions CarGurus as the simple, easy solution for car shoppers looking to find great car deals from top-rated dealers.
  • "The spots play on the notion that while consumers might feel like they need detective skills or even a guru to navigate the complexities of car shopping, CarGurus makes it fast and easy to find the perfect deal".
  • The Cambridge-based company launched the two television spots on April 2017 to kick off the company's first mass-media awareness advertising campaign.
  • The 30-second commercials aired on network and cable television in Nashville, Austin and Denver, concurrent with a national YouTube campaign.
  • "Detective" and "Motivational Guru" had more than 20 million unique visitors per month.


  • On December 27, 2018, CarGurus launched a new mass-media brand campaign, "Detective: The Story Continues," building off the success of its inaugural "Detective" campaign.
  • The spots feature the couple from the original ‘Detective’ ad.
  • The campaign aired in 30-second commercials in both broadcast and cable television networks, as well as digital marketing channels including YouTube and Facebook.
  • The team included the ad agency Plum 14, Ocean Media for media planning, and director Nick Spooner and Chirp Productions to hand development and production.


  • It was launched on January 02, 2019.
  • The new campaign included 30-second spots, entitled "Parents" and "Obvious," that aired on broadcast and cable networks, as well as digital channels such as YouTube and Facebook.
  • This new campaign picked up from where The Story Continues" campaign left off, with the company's "Detective" character advertisements
  • "Parents" and "Obvious" campaign communicates CarGurus' key value proposition of helping consumers find the best deals on cars from top rated dealers near them.
  • First spot not only demonstrated how fast and easy CarGurus makes searching for a good deal on a used car but also go a little deeper in explaining CarGurus' value proposition, pointing out how CarGurus gives every car a deal rating from "Great" to "Overpriced" and sorts the best deals first.
  • Branding campaigns enabled CarGurus to become the biggest vehicle shopping site in the United States with distinctive monthly tourists and to increase its U.S. average monthly meetings by 49% year-over-year in Q3 2018.

Research Strategy

In order to ensure that we were able to find all of CarGurus' marketing campaigns, we began by going through the company's website and their press releases in order to see if there were any mentions of their campaigns. We were able to find their latest marketing campaign, which launched in 2019. From there, we started searching for marketing campaigns on trusted media sites such as Medium, the New York Times, Online Marketplaces, and Media Post where we were able to find two more campaigns in 2017 and 2018. As most of those campaigns leaned heavily on traditional advertisements, we went through the company's social media in order to see if they haven't done any marketing campaigns that were purely digital. Unfortunately, other than the campaigns that we already found, there were no other marketing campaigns by the company.